A Local Senior Conservation Officer spends his day doing something he loves.
Protecting wildlife and educating the public on and important resource used by almost all Idahoans.
Mark Maret covers an 800 square mile region in Benewah and Kootenai County, serving the Plummer and Worley area all the way to the Palous Divide and Part of St. Maries.
He oversees all of Coeur d’Alene Lake and woodlands in the Emida area as well.
Many people may not know what a conservation officer does for Idaho. Their main goal is to educate hunters and fishermen on various laws as well as protect resources. One of the reasons to protect the resources is to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity when hunting or fishing.
“In Idaho all wildlife and fish are owned by the residents. It’s a public resource, and our job as a department is to manage and steward that resource for perpetuity so everyone has access to that resource,” Maret said.
Maret says his job throughout the year varies and so does his schedule.
“We definitely have to know what our area is doing at all times,” Maret said. “It fluctuates throughout the year. Our patrol areas are based on what season it is and what time of day is going to be best to try and contact those people hunting or fishing.”
“I have no set schedule,” he added. “Some days I start my day at 4 in the morning so we can try to make contact with people other days I’m out there until 3 in the morning.”
Maret has gone through training similar to what police officers go through. He said he had to complete police academy training and field training with the Idaho State Police. He also has a bachelors in wildlife resources and biology but said it is not required to have a degree to be a conservation officer but is recommended.
His job has him playing multiple roles in between monitoring his jurisdiction.
He said his job can take him from conducting a traffic stop to the other week when he was called to help an elk that was stuck in a hay stack. He has even worked on poaching cases, applying for search warrants and conducting searches. Conservation officers are even called to assist local Sheriffs’ departments or other law enforcement in small communities for certain calls.
Maret said he is originally from Post Falls and has been familiar with the area all of his life. He said there has been a large influx of new outdoor recreationalists in the area, providing more opportunities to educate people.
“I’ve definitely seen an increase in tourism and hunting,” he said. “You are going to get more pressure with people moving here who want to hunt, want to fish and get outside.”
“If you are out there in the woods or out on the water, if you see something, say something,” He added. “It helps everyone, all the resources are owned by the people of the state. “We are not out there for blood, we are out there to conserve the resource and education is a large part of that.”
Those who want to report and incident or need assistance can call 1-800-632-5999 or call 208-769-1414.